The final installment of The Oprah Winfrey Show is airing across a sad country today. And at Oprah’s final good-bye (from her ABC daytime program, at least; she’ll be starting a new program called Oprah’s Next Chapter on OWN), she will not only shut down a wildly successful daytime enterprise, she’ll be taking one of the best branding platforms of the past 25 years off the air.
Over the years, there have been a number of companies that have credited a windfall of business on a mere mention by Oprah. Maribel Lieberman told Reuters that once her company MarieBelle was mentioned among “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” the phone began ringing, leading to $600,000 in sweets sales in the following month and opportunities to sell her products at nationwide retailers.
Oprah’s Book Club has added both sales and innovation to the book publishing industry. She’s launched the careers of a number of famous personalities including Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil. Her support of President Obama during the 2008 election was critical. And, of course, the show launched her own stratospheric rise that has led to her own OWN TV channel.
Branding strategist Jonathan Salem Baskin told Reuters that “Winfrey tapped into consumers’ need for trusted personal referrals long before social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter capitalized on it.”